Common Tense Errors in IELTS

Common Tense Errors in IELTS Different types of tense mistakes are made by the students in forming sentences. While students who receive...

Avatar Written by Arpit Gang · 12 min read >

Common Tense Errors in IELTS

Avatar Written by Arpit Gang · 12 min read >

Common Tense Errors in IELTS

Different types of tense mistakes are made by the students in forming sentences. While students who receive 5 Band have basic mistakes in writing as well as speaking, students getting 7 or above may be committing mistakes when writing complex sentences.
Let us first study the different types of tenses along with examples and common errors.
There are three types of tenses used to form sentences in order to express emotions and thoughts viz. past, present and future. Following are the rules given in the tabular form that can help you remember how to form a sentence at what time or in which situation.
Before you learn the different types of tenses, understand the terms used for explanation in the table below:
Singular Subject – Refers to 1 person – Example: I, He, She etc.
Plural Subject – Refer to >1 persons – Example: We, They etc.
Assertive sentences: Sentences, ending with full stop (.), implying something is true
Negative Sentences: Sentences with NOT, implying something is untrue
Interrogative Sentences: Sentences ending with question mark (?) that require you to answer
verb (1st),verb (2nd) and verb(2nd) stand for first form of verb, second form of verb and third form of verb respectively.
We will learn the rules of tenses in a very simple way, considering two examples and changing them as per the tense type:
Michael goes to office.
They go to office.

In the first sentence, subject is “Michael”, verb is “go” and object is “office”.
In the second sentence, subject is “they”, verb is “go” and object is “office”.
Similarly, you can understand all tense types as per table below:

Past Tense
Past Simple Past Continuous Past Perfect Past Perfect Continuous
Assertive Assertive
 
Assertive
 
Assertive
 
Singular subject + verb (2nd) + object
Plural subject + verb (2nd) + object 
Singular subject  + was + verb (1st) + object
Plural subject + were + verb (1st) + ING + object 
Singular subject + had + verb (3rd) + object
Plural subject + had + verb (3rd) + object
Singular subject + had been + verb (1st) + ING + for/since
Plural subject + had been + verb (1st) + ING + for/since
Example:
Michael went to office.
They went to office.
 
Example:
Michael was going to office.
They were going to office.
Example:
Michael had gone to office.
They had gone to office.
Example:
Michael had been going to office for 6 months.
They had been going to office for 6 months.
 
Common error:
 
On Diwali, I went to the market and buy wonderful stuff at cheapest price from the market.
On Diwali, I went to the market and bought wonderful stuff at cheapest price from the market.
Common error:
It was yesterday evening when I driving my car, I met with an accident.It was yesterday evening when I was driving my car, I met with an accident.
 
Common error:
I have already finished my work before my boss entered the office.
I had already finished my work before my boss entered the office.
Common error:
I was working in this company for 5 years.I had been working in this company for 5 years.
 
Negative
 
Negative
 
Negative
 
Negative
 
Singular subject + DID NOT + verb (1st) + object
Plural subject + DID NOT + verb (1st) + object
Singular subject + was + NOT + verb (1st) + object
Plural subject + were + NOT + verb (1st) + object
Singular subject + had + NOT + verb (3rd) + object
Plural subject + had + NOT + verb (3rd) + object
Singular subject + had NOT been + verb (1st) + for/since
 
Plural subject + had NOT been + verb (1st) + for/since
 
Example:
Michael did not go to office.They did not go to office.
 
Example:
Michael was not going to office.They were not going to office.
 
Example:
Michael had not gone to office.
They had not gone to office.
Example:
Michael had not been going to work for 6 months.
They had not been going to work for 6 months
Common error:
I have not fun in the party I attend last night.
I did not have fun in the party I attended last night.
Common error:
In the mall, people not shopping accessories.In the mall, people were not shopping accessories.
Common error:
When he asked me, I said I have not got the invitation.When he asked me, I said I had not got the invitation.
Common error:
The manager is not been maintaining the plant well for over a  year and hence he was fired.
The manager had not been maintaining the plant well for over a year and hence he was fired.
Interrogative
 
Interrogative
 
Interrogative
 
Interrogative
 
DID + Singular subject + verb (1st) + object + (?)
DID + Plural subject + verb (1st) + object + (?) 
WAS + Singular subject + verb (1st) + ING + object + (?)
WERE + Plural subject + verb (1st) + ING + object + (?)
HAD + Singular subject + verb (3rd) + object + (?)
HAD + Plural subject + verb (3rd) + object + (?)
HAD + Singular subject + been + verb (1st) + ING+ for/since + (?)
HAD + Plural subject + been + verb (1st) + ING + for/since + (?)
Example:
Did Michael go to office?
Did they go to office?
 
Example:
Was Michael going to office?
Were they going to office?
 
Example:
Had Michael gone to office?
Had they not gone to office?
 
Example:
Had Michael been going to office for 6 months?Had they been going to office for 6 months?
 
Common errors:
Yesterday, I go to visit the park and had great fun.Yesterday, I went to visit the park and had great fun.
At that time, I do not understand the problem.At that time, I did not understand the problem.
Do you like to play games when you were a child?Did you like to play games when you were a child?
Common Error:
In school, do the school giving you financial aid?In school, was the school giving you financial aid?
Was you enjoying your holidays in summer?
Were you enjoying your holidays in summer?
 
Common error:
Have you dealt with this company 3 years ago?
Had you dealt with this company 3 years ago?
Common error:
Have you been learning to play any musical instrument since childhood?Had you been learning to play any musical instrument since childhood?
 
 

 

Present Tense
Present Simple Present Continuous Present Perfect Present Perfect Continuous
Assertive
 
Assertive
 
Assertive
 
Assertive
 
Singular subject + (s/es)+ verb (1st) + object
Plural subject + verb (1st) + object 
Singular subject + is + verb + ING + object
Plural subject + are + verb (1st) + ING+ object 
Singular subject + has + verb (3rd) + object
Plural subject + have + verb (3rd) + object 
Singular subject + has been + verb (1st) + ING + object + for/since
Plural subject + have been + verb (1st) + ING + object + for/since
Example:
Michael goes to office.They go to office.
 
Example:
Michael is going to office.They are going to office.
 
Example:
Michael has gone to office.They have gone to office.
 
Example:
Michael has been going to office for 6 months.They have been going to office for 6 months.
 
Common error:
Chef at the restaurant prepare delicious food.Chef at the restaurant prepares delicious food.
 
Common error:
Whenever I and my family going to party, we enjoy a lot.
WheneverI and my family are going to party, we enjoy a lot.
 
Common error:
People in this city has changed a lot with the changing times.People in this city have changed a lot with the changing times.
 
Common error:
There has been many changes going on in the technology world.There have been many changes going on in the technology world.
 
Negative
 
Negative
 
Negative
 
Negative
 
Singular subject + DOES NOT + verb (1st) + object
Plural subject + DO NOT + verb (1st) + object 
Singular subject + IS NOT + verb (1st) + ING + object
Plural subject + ARE NOT + verb (1st) + ING + object 
Singular subject + HAS NOT + verb (3rd) + object
Plural subject + HAVE NOT + verb (3rd) + object 
Singular subject + HAS NOT BEEN + verb (1st) + ING + object + FOR/SINCE
Plural subject + HAVE NOT BEEN + verb (1st) + ING + object + FOR/SINCE
Example:
Michael does not go to office.They do not go to office.
 
Example:
Michael is not going to office.They are not going to office.
 
Example:
Michael has not gone to office.They have not gone to office.
 
Example:
Michael has not been going to office for 6 months.They have not been going to office for 6 months.
 
Common error:
A selfish person do not help at the time others face any difficult situation.A selfish person does not help at the time others face any difficult situation.
Common error:
In the evening, they not playing in the garden.
In the evening, they are not playing in the garden.
 
Common error:
Police haven’t found the criminal yet.
 
Police hasn’t found the criminal yet.
Common error:
Has you been visiting your friends since you passed school? 
Have you been visiting your friends since you passed school?
 
Interrogative
 
Interrogative
 
Interrogative
 
Interrogative
 
DOES + Singular subject + verb (1st) + object + (?)
DO + Plural subject + verb (1st) + object+ (?) 
IS + Singular subject + verb (1st) + ING + object + (?)
ARE + Plural subject + verb (1st) + ING + object + (?) 
HAS + Singular subject + verb (3rd) + object + (?)
Plural subject + HAVE + verb (3rd) + object + (?) 
HAS + Singular subject + BEEN + verb (1st) + ING + object + FOR/SINCE + (?)
HAVE + Plural subject + BEEN + verb (1st) + ING + object + FOR/SINCE + (?)
Example:
Does Michael go to office?Do they go to office?
 
Example:
Is Michael going to office?Are they going to office?
 
Example:
Has Michael gone to office?Have they gone to office?
 
Example:
Has Michael been going to office for 6 months?Have they been going to office for 6 months?
 
Common error:
Does it horrifying you when you watch that movie?Does it horrify you when you watch that movie?
 
Common error:
One day, my teacher asked me, “you are going to school?”One day, my teacher asked me, “Are you going to school?”
 
Common error:
 
How long has you waited for me in the party?
How long have you waited for me in the party?
Common error:
Can you tell us how has you been struggling since the day you joined fashion industry?
Can you tell us how have you been struggling since the day you joined fashion industry?

 

Future Tense
Future Simple
 
Future Continuous
 
Future Perfect
 
Future Perfect Continuous
 
Singular subject + WILL/SHALL + verb (1st) + object
Plural subject + WILL/SHALL + verb (1st) + object
Singular subject + WILL/SHALL BE + verb (1st) + ING + object
Plural subject + WILL/SHALL BE+ verb (1st) + ING + object 
Singular subject + WILL/SHALL HAS + verb (3rd) + object
Plural subject + WILL/SHALL HAVE + verb (3rd) + object 
Singular subject – WILL/SHALL HAS BEEN + verb (1st) + ING + object + FOR/SINCE
Plural subject – WILL/SHALL HAVE BEEN + verb (1st) + ING + object + FOR/SINCE
Example:
Michael will go to office.They will go to office.
 
Example:
Michael will be going to office.They will be going to office.
 
Example:
Michael will have gone to office.They will have gone to office.
 
Example:
Michael will have been going to office for 6 months.
They will have been going to office for 6 months.
Common error:
If I will get a chance to participate, I will try my best to win the competition.If I get a chance to participate, I will try my best to win the competition.
 
Common error:
Tomorrow, I will be preparing some tasty dishes for my friends when they will arrive.Tomorrow, I will be preparing some tasty dishes for my friends when they arrive.
Common error:
I think she will have prepared cook at home by the time I come back.
I think she will have prepared cook at home by the time I come back.
 
Common error:
In 2020, Maria will be studying in university for 3 years.
In 2020, Maria will have been studying in university for 3 years.
Negative
 
Negative
 
Negative
 
Negative
 
Singular subject + WILL/SHALL NOT+ verb (1st) + object
Plural subject + WILL/SHALL NOT + object
Singular subject + WILL/SHALL NOT BE + verb (1st) + ING + object
Plural subject + WILL/SHALL NOT BE+ verb (1st) + ING + object 
Singular subject + WILL/SHALL NOT HAVE + verb (3rd) + object
Plural subject + WILL/SHALL NOT HAVE + verb (3rd) + object 
Singular subject – WILL/SHALL NOT HAVE BEEN + verb (1st) + ING + object
Plural subject – WILL/SHALL NOT HAVE BEEN + verb (1st) + ING + object
Example:
Michael will not go to office.They will not go to office.
 
Example:
Michael will not be going to office.They will not be going to office.
 
Example:
Michael will not have gone to office.They will not have gone to office.
 
Example:
Michael will not have been going to office for 6 months.They will not have been going to office for 6 months.
Common error:
 
In the next year, I do not travel abroad.
 
In the next year, I will not travel abroad.
Common error:
 
Criminals will not stop committing mistakes if strict law is not made.
Criminals will not be stopping to commit mistakes if strict law is not made.
Common error:
 
By the time I reach home, the movie will already has not started.
By the time I reach home, the movie will not have already started.
 
Common error:
 
It is expected that the company will not be shifting its office for the next 1 year.
 
It is expected that the company will not have been shifting its office for the next 1 year.
Interrogative Interrogative
 
Interrogative Interrogative
 
WILL/SHALL  + Singular subject + object + (?)
Plural subject + WILL/SHALL + object + (?)
WILL/SHALL+ Singular subject +  BE + verb (1st) + ING + object + (?)
WILL/SHALL+ Plural subject +  BE + verb (1st) + ING + object + (?)
WILL/SHALL + Singular subject + HAVE + verb (3rd) + object + (?)
WILL/SHALL + Plural subject + HAVE + verb (3rd) + object + (?) 
WILL/SHALL + Singular subject + HAVE BEEN + verb (1st) + ING + object + (?)
WILL/SHALL + Plural subject + HAVE BEEN + verb (1st) + ING + object + (?)
Example:
Will Michael go to office?
Will they go to office?
Example:
Will Michael be going to office?
Will they be going to office?
Example:
Will Michael have gone to office?Will they have gone to office?
 
Example:
 
Will Michael have been going to office for 6 months?
Will they have been going to office for 6 months?
 
Common error:
 
How government helps in eradicating pollution problems?
How government will help in eradicating pollution problems?
Common error:
 
Will you continuing studies after marriage?
 
Will you be continuing studies after marriage?
 
Common error:
Will have you presented your proposal when clients will reach the office?
Will you have presented your proposal when clients reach the office?
 
Common error:
Will you be continuing this job for next 2 years? 
Will you have been continuing this job for next 2 years?

 

Exercises:

 
Find out tense errors in the following statements:
1. Every day, I enjoyed meeting my friends at college.
2.When it comes to dance, I just loved it.
3. Last year, I graduate from my university.
4. I work hard to get good marks in my exam last year.
 
Some students preparing for IELTS made tense mistakes while completing their writing tasks. You need to find out such mistakes in the following sentences:
 
5. Moreover, in the time period of 1996-2002, there were many changes that take place in average house prices.
6. Firstly, the population of Ireland spends their 28.91% money on eatables in 2010.
7. Furthermore, this helped in investing many drugs and machineries which has increased the life expectancy and survival of humans on the earth.
8. Last Sunday, I meet with an accident in your supermarket.
9. For this reason, I can’t write a letter earlier.
10. In addition, I want to take 1 week holidays from my work because my family need me.
11. One more thing, I have get a chance to reduce burden of my family and fulfil the demands of my sister.
12. Unfortunately, within two days, electronic light inside the microwave switch off
13. So, I am not satisfy with the product.
14. I joined a new job because previous company had given low salary package that was not enough for me. So, I have to change my job.
15. Suddenly, one motor bike hit the child and he fall down in the center of road.
16. Inhumane act like beating the animals led to their exploitation.
17. The women read highest number of books in the year of 2011 and they manage to continue growth till 2013.
18. In the past, I have deal with foreign clients and many a times, I have to give presentations.
 
There are mistakes in the following paragraphs, find out them and write the correct paragraphs:
 
19. In 2000, People from all age groups spend money on mobiles. Out of these age groups, 75% of them belong to the age group of 14-25 years while 63% of them are between the ages of 26-44 years who spend money on phones.
20. For all the people, those who buy laptops spend up to 12% money. There are hardly 5% of residents from the UK of 45+ years of age who spend money on laptops, whereas 12% of money spent by those who are between 14 to 25 years of age.
21. Percentage of women who obtain undergraduate diplomas were around double than that of the men. Undergraduate diplomas gained by above 65% women in comparison to just below 35% men.
22. The biggest difference in gender was at the post-school level where 75% of men have attained a skilled vocational diploma as compared to just 25% of women.
23. After the year 2015, it was likely that unemployment drop in Spain to approximately 11% in 2020 while in France, it expect to continuously rise.
24. In France, unemployment rate declined modestly from above 5% in the year 2000 before it starts climb in 2005.
25. Typically, a 14-25 year old individual in the UK spend just three quarters of money on a mobile phone. This device not so popular with other age groups.
26. E-readers just as popular as mobile phones with those in 45+ years of age. 38% of money used on purchasing mobile phone, in comparison to 1% and less for an e-reader.
27. Citizens of the UK who are 45 years and older hasn’t completely accepted the laptops yet. They spending 6% more on computers than laptops.
 

ANSWERS:

 

  1. Every day, I enjoy meeting my friends at college.
  2. When it comes to dance, I just love it.
  3. Last year, I graduated from my university.
  4. I worked hard to get good marks in my exam last year.
  5. Moreover, in the time period of 1996-2002, there were many changes that took place in average house prices.
  6. Firstly, the population of Ireland spent their 28.91% money on eatables in 2010.
  7. Furthermore, this helped in investing many drugs and machineries which have increased the life expectancy and survival of humans on the earth.
  8. Last Sunday, I met with an accident in your supermarket.
  9. For this reason, I couldn’t write a letter earlier.
  10. In addition, I want to take 1 week holidays from my work because my family needs me.
  11. One more thing, I have got a chance to reduce burden of my family and fulfil the demands of my sister.
  12. Unfortunately, within two days, electronic light inside the microwave switched off.
  13. So, I am not satisfied with the product.
  14. I joined a new job because company had given low salary package that was not enough for me. So, I had to change my job.
  15. Suddenly, one motor bike hit the child and he fell down in the center of road.
  16. Inhumane act like beating the animals leads to their exploitation.
  17. The women read highest number of books in the year of 2011 and they managed to continue growth till 2013.
  18. In the past, I have dealt with foreign clients and many a times, I had to give presentations.
  19. In 2000, people from all age groups spent money on mobiles. Out of these age groups, 75% of them belonged to the age group of 14-25 years while 63% of them were between the ages of 26-44 years who spent money on phones.
  20. For all the people in 2010, those who bought laptops spent up to 12% money. There were hardly 5% of residents from the UK of 45+ years of age who spent money on laptops, whereas 12% of money was spent by those who were between 14 to 25 years of age.
  21. Percentage of women who obtained undergraduate diplomas was around double than that of the men. Undergraduate diplomas were gained by above 65% women in comparison to just below 35% men.
  22. The biggest difference in gender was at the post-school level where 75% of men attained a skilled vocational diploma as compared to just 25% of women.
  23. After the year 2015, it was likely that unemployment dropped in Spain to approximately 11% in 2020 while in France, it expected to continuously rise.
  24. In France, unemployment rate declined modestly from above 5% in the year 2000 before it started climbing in 2005.
  25. Typically, a 14-25 year old individual in the UK spends just three quarters of money on a mobile phone. This device is not so popular with other age groups.
  26. E-readers are just as popular as mobile phones with those in 45+ years of age. 38% of money is used on purchasing mobile phone, in comparison to 1% and less for an e-reader.
  27. Citizens of the UK who are 45 years and older haven’t completely accepted the laptop computers yet. They are spending 6% more on computers than laptops.

 

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